DOB Issues Stop Work Order, Violations At Construction Site Where Worker Was Buried Alive

Following yesterday’s dramatic rescue of a construction worker who had been buried up to his chest in dirt and debris, the Department of Buildings has slapped the contractor with a slew of violations.

The FDNY rescued the 33-year-old construction worker, who has not been identified, after a trench he was excavating in the rear yard of 2407 East 23rd Street collapsed on him, burying him up to his chest and making it difficult for him to breathe. After a 30-minute multi-agency rescue operation, the man was freed from the dirt and taken to Kings County Hospital with minor injuries.

The Department of Buildings told Sheepshead Bites that they have issued a stop work order at the location, and have also ordered the contractor, Mike Mermelshtayn of Alex and Tom Construction (2537 East 65th Street) to fill and secure the two 8-foot-long, 10-foot-deep trenches they’ve dug.

The Department also issued violations for failure to provide protection at an excavation site, failure to safeguard persons or property, failure to file plans for excavation work, and failure to provide proper fencing at the job site. The department did not answer an inquiry about the penalties imposed as part of the violations.

Department of Buildings records indicate that the landlord was converting the ground level unit of the multi-family home into a commercial location, with plans to extend the first and second floors towards the rear. There were no complaints registered against the construction until the collapse.


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